Hitting the Baja Peninsula with La Familia
By Keith Kennedy
It was just after 3pm on day two in Cabo San Lucas when it hit me. I could live here.
360 days of sun every year, some of the best beaches in Mexico, a county of water sports and fishing, great restaurants, and plenty for “la familia” to do. Sure, I’d have to find a new career, but where there’s a will, there’s a way?
When I told my wife about my Cabo epiphany, she was quick to bring me back to reality. I’d made my career choices years ago, and unless I wanted to go back to school for hotel management, buy a fishing boat, or open up a surf shop, I’d have to be content doing what do, which among other things is being a travel writer exploring exotic destinations all over the globe. Not bad work either, but Cabo San Lucas did have me second-guessing.
How much it does starts with where you choose to say, and in picking a “have it all” resort for a family trip to Cabo San Lucas, I’d place Villa Estancia (www.CaboLaEstancia.com) as a strong frontrunner. It’s located on a beautiful stretch of Medano Beach, overlooking the world famous Arches in Cabo San Lucas at the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. This relatively new property is also just far enough away from the more hectic beach areas closer to downtown Cabo, without being so far up the 18 mile long “resort corridor” that you’ll need to cab it everytime you want to head into town.
What closes the deal for me for this luxury resort are the spacious, family friendly environments found throughout; oversized suites that allow for the family to be under the same roof, but with enough space so that everyone can have some alone time. Traditional Mexican architecture and furnishings imparting a high “cozy” factor. A full kitchen, plus washer/dryer, which means you’ve got the option to pack a little lighter for your stay. For bigger budgets and families, penthouse units, lavish in de?cor and amenities, offer a variety of layouts from big to huge, ranging from prepared foods to groceries and sundries.
The large pool which sits in the middle of the property is a two level, free form extravaganza, surrounded by gardens, with both adult and kid friendly areas. If you’re more of a beach person, Villa Estancia also boasts one of the few swimmable beaches in Cabo, due to a natural break in the very rough surf conditions found locally. This is BIG, since many travelers go into a bit of a shock after coming all the way to Cabo to find they will not be able to swim in the ocean at their hotels!
Finally, after a long day of family fun, a parental “break” is in order at the crown jewel of the property, the Desert Spa.
The Spa is certain to please the most discriminating of clientele. With plenty of treatment rooms, two exclusive VIP suites with private Jacuzzi and shower, a full-service beauty salon and extensive menu of exotic treatment services, the spa is a haven for health, beauty, decompression and rejuvenation. Designed in Mexican hacienda style, the spa also offers one-of-a-kind men’s and women’s hydrotherapy centers, complete with a spacious Jacuzzi, cold plunge pool, cold pressure showers, body temperature pool, steam room, sauna and Swiss showers. Plus, within the Spa, a 4,500 sq. ft. fitness center is there for those who want to buff up for the beach. Off the resort, there’s plenty for families to do in Cabo San Lucas. Within a short walk along the beach you’ll find a number of activities, including jet skiing, parasailing, glass bottom boats, plus a wide range of sunset sails and boat cruises. For snorkeling, you can go via boat, or you can head via cab or car to two calm bays, Playa St. Maria and Chileno Bay, which have plenty to see, as well as being great beaches to spend the day on.
Head into either Cabo San Lucas or its cousin city, San Jose del Cabo, for great sight seeing, people-watching, shopping and tons of kid friendly restaurants ranging from traditional to new Mexican, as well as sushi, steak, and of course, just about anything else. La Fonda and Tropicana Inn are tops for traditional Mexican, while Nick San is a fave for fresh sushi.
If you want really fresh sushi, take the family out for a day of fishing. I’m not kidding! It’s a great way to explore Cabo, have an exciting adventure, and maybe bring home dinner. The waters around Cabo are home to many gamefish, including Striped, Blue, and Black Marling, world renowned for their fighting and leaping abilities. You can keep what you catch, or re-release these beauties back into the ocean.
Whichever you choose, the Gaviota Sportfishing fleet is arguably the best at getting you tangled up with these beautiful monsters of the deep, as well as smaller foes including yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dorado, and red snapper. And, depending on the time of year, you’ll also see whales, dolphin, flying fish, and mantas, providing for many families at once in a lifetime opportunity to see an awesome abundance of sea life.
During my full day trip, Juan and Lupe on the Gaviota VIII quickly put me on to two black marlin, a 160 pound fish and a second, an even bigger 200 pounder which took almost an hour to fight back to the boat until we cut him loose. These guys know where the fish are!
Beyond fishing, there’s golf, hiking, nightlife, small artsy towns like Todos Santos to visit, and so much more. Maybe I’ll just have to bite the bullet and stick around Cabo a few more days.
As seen on RESIDENT magazine Vol. 22 No. 9, pp 64-66